When Lithuania’s AB Bankas Snoras imploded in 2011, its main shareholders, Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas, had already left for the United Kingdom, where Antonov had accomplished a long-held dream to take over the Portsmouth Football Club.
On Nov. 24 of that year Antonov, a Russian, and Baranauskas, a Lithuanian, were arrested, interrogated and released on bail in London on a Europe-wide arrest warrant issued in Vilnius.
By 2015, when Lithuania prevailed after more than a three-year extradition battle, both had fled to Russia. Antonov’s legal representative later said the banker ran away “due to fears for his life.”
The Snoras case made waves in Lithuania, where panicking clients lined up at bank branches immediately after it fell. Those with relatively small deposits were compensated from the deposit guarantee fund, while many major depositors, including state-owned companies, were left empty-handed because Snoras assets had disappeared offshore.
Vladimir Antonov ran Snoras with his father, Alexander. Both had dealings with Austria’s Meinl Bank that resulted in three Antonov-owned banks losing more than 110 million euros.
The bankers were famous for their passion for sports cars,…